The Wonderful Story of Christmas
Anne Hutchings, a former elementary-school teacher-librarian with the
Durham Board of Education, is an educational consultant.
“I am going to tell you a story. It is a story you may already know
… I will tell it in my own way, using my imagination just a little
bit.” And Claude Lafortune does just that. He begins with the birth of
Mary, the mother of Christ; follows with the annunciation, the journey
to Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus, and the shepherds’ visit; then
concludes with the arrival of the Wise Men. Rich in details, both homey
and familiar, the tale makes clear that he has used his imagination more
than “just a little”—as evidenced, for example, by the
“photographs” of Mary and her parents, which resemble those that
might be found in a family album. The book is dedicated to the
author’s seven grandchildren, and the wonderfully conversational tone
makes the reader feel as if he or she is one of them, at Lafortune’s
The stunning illustrations accompanying the text feature Lafortune’s
signature cut-paper work. A special pullout section has posters of Mary,
Joseph, and baby Jesus, the shepherds, and the Wise Men to cut out and
display. Included, too, are figures to be cut to construct a Christmas
crиche or to be used for further storytelling. Of special interest is
the brief history of creches offered in closing.
This retelling of the Christmas story would be a useful addition to
personal, church, and Sunday-school collections. Parents and children
will enjoy working together to create their own nativity scene.